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Soft drinks probe: Reps accuses NAFDAC of compromise

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The House of Representatives adhoc committee  investigating the production and distribution of drinks manufactured by the Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) Limited and other drinks produced or marketed in Nigeria has accused the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, (NAFDAC) of compromise and failure to live up to its responsibilities.

The committee specifically questioned the rational NAFDAC relied on before issuing a certificate of compliance to Pepsi and 7Up Bottling company barely a month of being issued query by the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON).

The committee, chaired by Leader of the House, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, at its resumed hearing on Thursday accordingly called on the agency to brace up to its responsibility in order not to increase the health risks posed to consumers of food and drinks by Nigerians.

According to Mr. Gbajabiamila, the case of Pepsi and 7Up “shows lack of collaboration amongst the regulatory agencies. Pepsi was issued query by SON in March and April respectively meanwhile NAFDAC in turn ignored the query and issued Pepsi a certificate of compliance”.

He further expressed worry over the lukewarm altitude adopted by NAFDAC in discharging its mandate, saying “NAFDAC issues certificate to industries for along as five years and visitation to industries should be done twice a year but from the documents before me submitted by NAFDAC, visits is only once and it shows clearly that NAFDAC has failed in its responsibility.”

In his intervention, Mr. Nkole Uko (PDP, Abia) appealed to NAFDAC to train its staff in order to comply with international best practices, saying “You still operate on a very analog scale. If you go back to the archives, you will find out that you don’t even consider population because population has an effect on whatever product we consume. You see, NAFDAC, you people are not doing whatever you are supposed to do”.

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